Now that you’ve read my posts how to survive your first (or 21st) homeschool convention. We’re ready to learn how to choose curriculum.
As you can imagine, there are many curricula to choose from including classical, traditional, teacher lead, and online academies. Curriculum is available from preschool to high school and college with varying prices to fit any budget. There are a few points to consider when choosing:
STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS
Determine what you are looking for by asking yourself some simple questions:
- What is the age of my child? This is a simple question, but a necessary one. The age of your child will help determine the general grade level he/she is educationally.
- What is my child’s ability? What does your child know? Maybe he is more advanced in some subjects and struggles in others. That’s one of the good things about homeschooling, you can adjust the curriculum to meet individual needs. If you want to get a better idea of his knowledge, there are placement tests you can use.
- Does my child have a learning disability or special need? The curriculum for children with learning disabilities and special needs have come a long way in the past several years. Companies are now publishing curriculum specifically designed for these children. There is also a lot of free resources and encourage online as well.
- How does my child learn? Knowing how your child learns is as important as knowing their ability. If you are not teaching in their individual learning style, simple tasks can be confusing and in the end cause frustration. There are seven styles of learning, but three are the most common; hands-on (kinesthetic), visual (see it) and auditory (hear it). Sometimes there was will be a combination. For example, KJ is a musical and kinesthetic learner. I have found that if I put the more challenging things to music/rhythm along with hand motions, he gets it!
STEP 2: EDUCATION STYLE/FORUM
Just as there are different learning styles, there are different education styles or forums:
- Traditional Education: For most of us when we hear this term we think of public school with classes being taught that we as parents have no control over. I use this term in the sense of teacher-led classes. The parent as the teacher with the freedom to choose the subjects your child will learn, but with a more industrial age (modern) curriculum.
- Classical Education: This style of education is also teacher-led and not only includes reading, writing, arithmetic, and science, but Latin, Greek and ancient history usually starting with “In the beginning” (Genesis 1). This is our preferred choice because it is Biblically based which is very important to us. Learning Latin and Greek improves language skills. Science is based on the word of God not the “big bang theory”, and history starts at the beginning of the world. Think about it. Most of the history taught in public schools begin with the founding of the new world. There was no history until God created the world!
- Online/CD: There are many good options for online or CD driven programs. More and more private schools are now offering classes online and you can often choose the subjects you want your child to take online. This is especially nice if you are not comfortable teaching Latin or calculus.
STEP 3: ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS
Decide what subjects you will teach in addition to the standard reading, writing, math, and science. Will you add a language? If so, will it be an ancient language (i.e. Latin, Greek, Hebrew) or will it be a modern language (i.e. Spanish, French or German)? Will you add art history or music?
It is important not to over extend your child’s or your time. Don’t try to cram too many subjects into one day or school year, this will only cause burnout and frustration for everyone. Remember that one reason to choose to homeschool is to allow your child to grow and learn at their own pace.